Nicci Garner: Jockey Gavin Lerena has won 14 races this season, five in the last week, and has another good book of rides at Turffontein on Thursday.
He believes his best chance of a winner might be Open Road in Race 9, a FM 62 Handicap over 1400m.
“She’s been knocking on the door, having finished third in her last four starts, and this is not the strongest of fields. She does have a big weight to carry, 61kg, but I think she can do it,” he said before admitting: “I do have to have a healthy respect for the lightweights, though.”
Lerena is also quite excited about his other five mounts at the meeting, giving them all money chances.
“Hard Ball in Race 3 ran a good race in blinkers last time but that was only a week ago. The Puma is the horse we’ve all got to beat here.
“Turn Back Time in Race 4 is better than her 69 merit rating and if she comes back to the Guns And Roses form (when beaten 2.75 lengths into third over the Turffontein Standside 1600m three runs ago) she would be hard to beat.
“I hope Tammany Hall in Race 5 is above average because it’s a tough ask for a three-year-old filly with 62kg taking on older horses. Trainer Paul Peter has said she is a very nice filly, and that Let It Flow formline in her debut was strong. I’m hoping for the best.
“I ride Twelve Oaks in Race 6. She is a filly who hasn’t done much wrong but a three-year-old running off a rating of 90 is tough. It’s a very open event.”
His Race 7 mount is African Ruler. “I make Wrecking Ball the horse to beat, but my horse is 3.5kg better off with the filly for a 2.80-length beating in the Tommy Hotspur. If he’s well after a layoff he’s a big runner. The other danger is hard-knocker Talktothestars.”
Port Elizabeth trainer Dorrie Sham is raiding on the Highveld again today after bringing her World Sports Betting Grand Heritage contender, Classified, up to run fourth in the Spring Spree Stakes at Turffontein on 2 September.
The conditions of the Grand Heritage state that in order to qualify for inclusion in the 28-horse field, every horse must have run at least once from the time of first entry and Sham wanted to acclimate her charge to the 1,000km trip from her home base to the Vaal at the end of the month.
She has runners at Turffontein today, bringing them because “we’re having two months of Polytrack racing and they don’t go well on the surface”.
Sadly, one of her horses has had to be scratched, Rock Deejay from Race 7 “because he had an issue on Tuesday”.
The other two are full-sisters Kungfoofighting in Race 5 and Lawdy Miss Clawdy in Race 6. Jockey Raymond Danielson rides both.
They have nice 1000m-1200m form. “Kungfoofighting, the older sister, seems to be improving the older she gets. Lawdy Miss Clawdy has got nice, speedy form. We’ll see what the day brings,” said Sham.
The TAB All to Come bet for the day is: Race 1: Annie The Great (Win); Race 4: Vul Indlela (Win); Race 7: Wrecking Ball (Place); Race 8: Open Road (Place) – remember you can win if you lose with TAB and Betting World Win-A-House promotion!